Walk & Talk at the Riverdene Nursery 7 July 2019

 

By Tom Lantry FAIH, AIH convener for Central Coast & Hunter regions.

 

After a general introduction of Noel Jupp OAM and Tom Lantry FAIH, Noel began to tell us about the family driven Riverdene Nursery and was joined by his daughter who looks after propagation. Noel showed that they have developed a system where they use old video cases to hold their plant tags. (It certainly keeps them neat and tidy, and easy to find.)

 

Group during introduction.

Group during introduction.

 

Noel then proceeded to demonstrate his potting machine, and all the other machinery they use at the nursery. All machinery built themselves. They also make their own potting mix. The majority of plants use common mix, but some require alteration.

 

 

Noel explaining potting machine.

Noel explaining potting machine.


When asked about special growing pots to prevent roots tangling, Noel spoke about how pots were introduced after he saw them advertised in a USA nursery magazine. He contacted the manufacturer to find out if they had a similar pot, and the manufacturer followed up and introduced the pots. Noel also said even though pots were 10 to 15% dearer, they produced a better plant with less transplant shock. As we walked around the nursey, he showed us when removing plants from pots; the roots were growing down groves and not around the pot.

 

 

Pot root development.

Pot root development.


Staking larger plants, he demonstrated how the spaghetti tube was used. This also allowed for some stretching. In propagation, every second sprinkler was adjusted slightly above the one next to it so that even watering was applied. When using cuttings, jiffy plugs of coco fibre were used so staff can easily see when cuttings take root. A heating mat under the liner was shown to advance rooting of cuttings.

 

Cuttings in Jiffy plugs.

Cuttings in Jiffy plugs.

 

Noel explaining procedure.

Noel explaining procedure.

 

We were shown where pine bark fines and fly ash was stored in separate bins prior to addition of fertiliser. A discussion took place about fly ash, and Noel raised that the latest information is that it may need replacing with sand due to the latest information/concerns about heavy metals in the fly ash. In a discussion about plant variety rights in Australia 18 to 20 cents per plant overseas 4c per plant, but when you have over 1,000,000 plants being sold then it’s still a handy sum. Riverdene keeps track of sales as plants are not allowed to be sold without their labels.

Noel is also involved with the propagation of old citrus varieties and spoke of where he has found old varieties. Some species do not like budding, so they must be propagated by cuttings. Several questions were asked about grass trees propagation and growth rates. Noel said that seeds germinate readily and if given room in pots they develop quickly. So get them out of tubes into 200 mm pots quickly.

 

Noel at the riverbank.

Noel at the riverbank.

 

Penny Kater MAIH.

Penny Kater MAIH.


We were then taken to the revegetated river banks which, once they started to attract birds and many other species not planted appeared. Naturally, with the now thick plantings erosion of bank is greatly improved. Before leaving, one of the group members moved a vote of thanks to Noel for the opportunity and open discussion. Tom then spoke to the group about an opportunity to visit a community arboretum just up the road, so we then headed off to the arboretum. After the visit to the Arboretum, several had lunch in town. Overall the visit and networking were worthwhile.

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